Sunday, April 10, 2011

Necessity of the Old Testament to the New One

The work of rereading the Old Testament is sometimes tiring but always necessary, because as one proceeds there begin to occur some sinister premonitions. Abraham, an ancestor of all monotheism, is ready to make a human sacrifice of his own first-born. And a rumour comes that "a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son." Gradually, these two myths begin to converge. It's needful to bear this in mind when coming to the New Testament, because if you pick up any of the four Gospels and read them at random, it will not be long before you learn that such and such an action or saying, attributed to Jesus, was done so that an ancient prophecy should come true. (Speaking of the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem, riding astride a donkey, Matthew says in his chapter 21, verse 4, "All of this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet." The reference is probably to Zechariah 9:9, where it is said that when the Messiah comes he will be riding on an ass. The Jews are still awaiting this arrival and the Christians claim it has already taken place!) If it should seem odd that an action should be deliberately performed in  order that a foretelling be vindicated, that is because it is  odd. And it is necessarily odd because, just like the Old Testament, the "New" one is also a work of crude carpentry, hammered together long after its purported events, and full of improvised attempts to make things come out right. For concision, I shall again defer to a finer writer than myself and quote what H. L. Mencken  irrefutably says in his Treatise on the Gods:

The simple fact is that the New Testament, as we know it, is a helter-skelter accumulation of more or less discordant documents, some of them probably of respectable origin but others palpably apocryphal, and that most of them, the good along with the bad, show unmistakable signs of having been tampered with.

Both Paine  and Mencken, who put themselves for different reasons to an honest effort to read the texts, have been borne out by later biblical scholarship, much of it first embarked upon to show that the texts were still relevant. But this argument takes place over the heads of those to whom the "Good Book" is all that is required. 

One recalls the governor of Texas who, asked if the Bible should also be taught in Spanish, replied that "if English was good enough for Jesus, then it's good enough for me.

-- Christopher Hitchens, God is not Great, How Religion Poisons Everything


  1. This truly is a very important blog. Thanks for sharing this valuable information with us.

  2. I would say the Old Testament needs the New for it to be complete and not the way you have it.

    You are right when you say Jesus did choose this prophecy about riding into Jerusalem on a donkey(although it still happened in a miraculous way Jesus telling his disciples who to talk to get the donkey. The point of this prophecy is that Jesus did choose the donkey, the humility. It was anti Rome(the super power at that time. Caesar or Pilate choose the war horse, Jesus did not. His kingly procession into Jerusalem where he would be crowned king with thorns, be beaten with his kingly sceptor, and set upon the cross, his thrown, was a kingly coronation but it was not the way of Rome or this world. It was very different, and that is the way Jesus choose. He did choose this prophecy, and no king would have besides him.

  3. This has been a very significant blog indeed. I've acquired a lot of helpful information from your article. Thank you for sharing such relevant topic with us.

  4. Thank you Todd for pointing out how pretty and nice sounding the bibles rhetoric is, like a fairytale fantasy fable laid out nicely on the dinner table. I have finished what's on the plate and now I shall go throw it back out, by the gate. The 'good book' is great, advertisement. But like all great advertisements and propaganda, we as a society are preyed upon. By, buy, bye, two, those blasphemizing they're own god by using the figleaf of their knowledge for their own good against another unwillingly from ages 6 to 106, like a starting fucking lineup. But I ain't buying your god blessed book. It ought be banned as child abuse. And I wont even read your title, past or, presently, you're just another human being like me walking around seeing. Were not all just sinning. Why must we inherently bad? It's sad it really is, that beautifully imaginmry wholly holy books can't be used for something other than death, control, and war. Jesus, himself, would have swore to the damned almighty god. And then nothing would've happened and wed still be surrounded by delusional people that have nothing better to do with their truly special time as talking apes alive, than talk about stone age magic rendered by peoples who hadn't even realized the Earth was round let alone revolving around the 'son....' Remember how well Galileo got along with your gods church? How can you claim to know anything about afterdeathlife? Most people can't even comprehend before death life. We know less about living than dying. When we die, were dead. A bug never cries when another dies, they keep on being, flies. The rest is lies. Santa told me that. And guess what, Santa Clause, is, he's dead too. I feel bad for you and many of the people I love. To know that so many die without ever knowing they were alive. No strings attached. Take a look at me Geppetto, I'm a real boy now.

    Thanks for spreading the real good news Garrett Fogerlie.